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The Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. 

About SAI | View the South Asia Institute video

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 28, 2016 from 08:30am - 10:00am  /  Allison Dining Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Conversation with Ambassador Richard Olson, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

South Asia Week at Harvard Kennedy School

As the spring fighting season in Afghanistan flares up again, following one of the most deadly Taliban attacks in Kabul in years on April 19, 2016 posing new challenges to the Afghan government and military, Ambassador Richard Olson discusses long-term plans for the wider region as part of the annual SOUTH ASIA WEEK.

Ambassador Richard Olson assumed duty as U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) on November 17, 2015 after concluding his service as the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

Previously, he served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs, at U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2011 to 2012. U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011. He is a member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister Counselor, and was recently recommended for promotion to Career Minister.

Olson joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. He has served in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, (where he served in Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and in Najaf, Iraq. He was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

His Washington assignments include: State Department Operations Center (twice), NATO Desk, the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs (twice, including as Director), and the Office of Iraqi Affairs, including as Director. He graduated from Brown University in 1981, receiving an A.B. in Law and Society (Honors) and History.

Olson has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Award for Public Outreach, the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (three times), and the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award (for his service in Iraq).

Cosponsored with the Future of Diplomacy and India & South Asia Program, HKS

Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 08:30am

Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 10:00am

Allison Dining Room, 5th Floor Taubman Building, Harvard Kennedy School

Allison Dining Room, 5th Floor Taubman Building, 79 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Thu, April 28, 2016 from 05:45pm - 07:00pm  /  Kresge G2, Harvard School of Public Health

The 2015 Nepal Earthquake: Perspectives on Response, Reconstruction, Accountability

Cosponsored Events

Join us to remember the lives lost, and to continue the conversation on the public health impact of, and response to, disasters. is event brings together academics, practitioners and students to examine lessons on earthquake response, aid accountability, and health systems strengthening following the disaster that rocked Nepal on April 25, 2015

Bijay Acharya, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital & MPH ‘2016

Richard Cash, Senior Lecturer, Department of Global Health and Population

Emily Troutman, Founder, Aid.Works, DC

Moderator: Jennifer Leaning, HSPH; Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights

Light Nepali snacks from 5.30pm
Organized by Harvard Chan Students for Nepal Society, South Asian Students Organization

Please RSVP through the link:

Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 05:45pm

Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 07:00pm

Kresge G2
Harvard School of Public Health

677 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA

Fri, April 29, 2016 from 01:00pm - 06:30pm  /  Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall

What is Islam? A Symposium in Memory of Shahab Ahmed


Michael Cook, Islamic Studies
Noah Feldman, Law
Cemal Kafadar, History
Gülru Necipoğlu, Art History
Parimal Patil, South Asian Studies
Nicholas Watson, Medieval Studies and Religion

Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Standing Committee on Medieval Studies, the Mahindra Humanities Center, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, the Committee on the Study of Religion, with support of the Rabbi Joseph S. Shubow Memorial Fund, the South Asia Initiative, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, and the Islamic Legal Studies Program

Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 01:00pm

Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 06:30pm

Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall

Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall, Harvard Yard

Fri, April 29, 2016 from 04:00pm - 05:30pm  /  CGIS South, S250

New Urbanism and Post-national Modernity: Capital, People and the State in Gurgaon, India

South Asia Without Borders Seminar

Sanjay Srivastava, Professor of Sociology, JNU, Delhi

Chair:  Parimal G. Patil, Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Committee on the Study of Religion, FAS, Chair of the Department of South Asian Studies

This paper focuses upon new urban developments in India and suggests that an ethnographic account of this context provides fruitful insights into contemporary relationships between the state, the ‘people’ and capital. The paper is organized around historical and ethnographic accounts of the privately developed DLF City in the North Indian state of Haryana. DLF City borders Delhi and is part of an area known as the National capital Region (NCR). In principle, a government body known as the National capital Region Planning Board is meant to oversee coordinated infrastructure and other forms of planning processes for the Region. In practice, urban processes within the NCR depend  upon erratic relationships between real estate behemoths, the state and a variety of residents associations. This discussion proceeds through introducing the concepts of ‘post-national modernity’ and ‘moral consumption’. These, I suggest, allow us to explore the relationships noted above, as well as allowing for a tracking of the contours of a state formation that is part of the informality it seeks to banish. The discussion also outlines some of the ways in which new forms of urban citizenship emerge through the changing relationships suggested above, as well those that are submerged.

Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 04:00pm

Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 05:30pm

CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA


Seed for Change Q+A: Torr Energy

“We are all passionate about providing an energy solution for those who need it the most,” says Kasey Wang, Harvard Law School student, about Torr Energy, one of the student group finalists in SAI’s Seed For Change Competition.

    Seed For Change Q+A: The Craftsmen

    The Craftsmen, one of the student group finalists in SAI’s Seed For Change Competition, is a small forest enterprise facilitator that creates new value chains, provides year-round employment for forest dwellers, and trains communities in sustainable harvesting practices.

      SAI seeks Program Intern

      SAI is seeking a summer intern to assist with programming. The ideal candidate will be a Harvard student who is graduating with their master’s degree in May.

        Harvard Holi 2016

        On Saturday, March 26, Harvard Dharma and the Harvard India Student Group hosted a Holi celebration with over 200 students.

          Megacities Asia

          On March 24, SAI hosted a panel discussion in collaboration with the “Megacities Asia” exhibition on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

            Student voices: Smiling India

            “I learned to practice cross-cultural compassionate care and learned about a broken health-care system,” writes Harvard dental student Hannah Yoo about her time conducting research on the oral and nutritional health of women and children in Mumbai.